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Sunday, October 10, 1999 Published at 21:07 GMT 22:07 UK

World: Middle East

Israeli army debates Lebanon withdrawal

Top Israeli army officials are reported to have discussed options for a possible troop withdrawal from southern Lebanon.

Israel Radio said the officials met under the chairmanship of the chief of staff Shaul Mofaz.

According to the report the officials debated plans for a unilateral withdrawal from the area Israel controls in southern Lebanon or a pullout within the framework of peace agreements with Lebanon and Syria. The French news agency said an army spokesman declined to comment on the debate.

Israeli Radio said the officials also discussed how to safeguard two thousand members of Israel's ally, the South Lebanon Army.

The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, has pledged to bring troops home from Lebanon by the middle of next year

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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